The Cisco Nexus® 3000 Series Switches are a comprehensive portfolio of 1, 10, and 40 Gigabit Ethernet switches built from a switch-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture. Introduced in April 2011, this series has established itself as a leader in high frequency trading, high-performance computing, and big data environments by pairing high performance and low latency with innovations in performance visibility, automation, and time synchronization.
Computer networking vendors have been increasing the speed and port density of their Ethernet switches while reducing power draw and price per port. But while Ethernet switching hardware marches on linearly, thanks to 10, 40 and 100GbE, networking software is taking a different historical path as the pace of compute and network technology evolution has diverged, with networking lagging. Highly virtualized server deployment has broken traditional networking approaches on multiple levels, for example. In response, the industry is now developing a “virtualized infrastructure” or “stack” to add network flexibility. To close the technology gap, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is promoted as the new “organizing principle” to deliver network software and service value. While it will be, likely, years before SDN’s organizing principles take hold, I propose that these two industry activities are inexplicably linked and phased; here’s why…
During the middle of 2012, a few firms will introduce core switches for campus networking. Many of these products will be based upon merchant silicon such as HP Networking’s A10500 Series Enterprise Core Switch. While these products will boast performance advantage, they will find it difficult to win share against established firms such as Cisco’s Catalyst 6500, thanks to its investment in network services. In this Lippis Report Research Note 184, we explore the importance of network services and their role in campus network design.
In this Lippis Report Research Note 183, we provide our very popular annual top 10 2012 industry predictions that were provided by Andre Kindness, senior analyst at Forrester Research, Nick Lippis, CEO of Lippis Enterprises, and Zeus Kerravala, principal at ZK Research. We take a look into the year ahead and provide our view as to what will come to pass. This Research Note is based upon the “2012 Networking Industry Predictions” Lippis Report podcast.
The following are our top 10 2012 Networking Industry Predictions.
The Fall 2011 Open Industry Network Performance and Power Test Report is now available. Since our Spring 2011 test, we added four products from three vendors to the 11 products from eight vendors already tested. We now have data on 15 data center switching products from nine vendors in the new report to be released after Thanksgiving. Our cloud networking test of 10 and 40GbE is now the industry benchmark for cloud networking. In fact, only those companies that are sure of their product(s) enter the test at Ixia’s iSimCity. We found that 40GbE is hard, and thus you have to give credit to the vendors that go through the testing—in this test, those vendors are Extreme Networks, Brocade and Alcatel-Lucent. These firms have high performance data center switching product that is Enterprise and Cloud service provider ready. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we share our the top 10 findings from this round of testing. Lippis Report subscribers can download the 125-page report here, free of charge.
While the Lippis Report test were being conducted of the Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitchTM 6900-X40, Jean Luc Ronarch, Director Product Line Management Stackable Switches at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise joined me to discuss the firm’s latest product investment. We talk cloud network architecture and what’s unique about the new OmniSwitchTM 6900-X40.
Download “Fall 2011 Open Industry Network Performance And Power Test Report” here.
Network virtualization, or the ability to divide a physical network into multiple logical networks with unique attributes, is a design that has grown in popularity as IT business leaders have sort ways to segment their network with different attributes for different user groups. This is popular in healthcare, education, travel and other industries. Network virtualization can be implemented either in IP, and/or MPLS. In addition connecting the Catalyst 6500 directly to service provider MPLS networks is another popular design; therefore we test throughput performance for both scenarios here.
For active-active data center operation, disaster planning and load balancing are best practices when connecting data centers via MPLS or VPLS. VPLS layer 2 connected data centers deliver LAN-like service over the campus and/or wide area network. Layer 2 connectivity is important as server-server communications expect layer 2 connectivity as most applications have been designed with this assumption. For connecting more than two data centers, VPLS offers mesh connectivity. Data centers connected via VPLS look and act as if they are on the same LAN. Therefore, we test that VPLS throughput performance rates are equally high performance in this scenario as MPLS.
Download “A Comprehensive Testing of Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 Sup2T” report here.
IT business leaders are seeking data center fabrics that scale to support increasing density of physical and virtual servers at cloud spec. In October of this year, Cisco delivered a monster data center fabric announcement aimed at increasing scale, security and new data center services. A few highlights are the second-generation Nexus 7000 capabilities, a new Nexus 7009 platform, plus FabricPath capabilities on the Nexus 5500 and expanded Nexus 1GbE and 40GbE form factors of the Nexus 3000. Shashi Kiran, Director of Market Management for Data Center/Virtualization and Enterprise Switching at Cisco Systems joins me to talk about what IT business leaders will gain from this new announcement from a business outcome and data center fabric design perspective.
During the weeks of October 10 and October 31, 2011, at Ixia’s iSimCity, the Lippis Report conducted its third industry test of cloud networking data center switches operating at 10 and 40GbE. In just six short months, the industry has moved forward by breaking all previous records of data center switch speed, power consumption, port density and bandwidth. We added four products from three vendors to the eleven products from eight vendors already tested. We now have data on fifteen data center switching products from nine vendors in the new report to be released after Thanksgiving. During May 2011 Interop, we had eleven vendors provide verbal commitment to participate in this Fall industry test (remember it is free for vendors to submit products to test). As the deadline for signed agreements came, this field of eleven dropped to three because their products were simply not ready. 40GbE is hard, and thus you have to give credit to the vendors that go through the testing—in this test, those vendors are Extreme Networks, Brocade and Alcatel-Lucent. These firms have high performance data center switching product that is Enterprise and Cloud service provider ready. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we share our insights gained from testing all these products and provide the topic cloud networking industry trends taking shape now.
Cisco’s Nexus Operating System that runs on the Nexus switches and evolved from Cisco’s MDS SAN-OS is a fundamental building block of its Data Center Fabric. Berna Devrim, Senior Manager of Data Center and Virtualization Marketing at Cisco Systems, discusses the next generation of Nexus OS designed to address the biggest data center issues. These issues are virtualization scale and mobility, cloud spec scale, LAN and SAN convergence plus operational efficiency. This is one of the best audio podcast we’ve produced, so sit back listen, learn and enjoy.
As data centers scale to support thousands of servers, IT managers are seeking better ways to network those servers while reducing costs and power consumption. Moreover, in large-scale data center cluster environments, inter-node communication bandwidth is increasingly becoming the main bottleneck. Compute nodes located across different physical switches may not have full bandwidth in a conventional hierarchical network design of interconnected switches. The solution is a distributed core architecture based on low-cost, high-capacity switches. This paper describes the use of Force10 Network’s® Z9000™ core switching system in a distributed core architecture to address these issues.
In the quest to build a data center network that is flat, fast and fault tolerant, the networking industry has served up a new two-tier architecture made up of Top-of-Rack or ToR server connecting switches and highly dense Core switches. Core switches connect ToR devices. The key question is how best to provide switch connectivity to deliver a lossless, high performance, low latency fabric that supports virtualization mobility. The answer is found in Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation Group or MC-LAG, Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links or TRILL and/or Shortest Path Bridging (SPB). Dhritiman Dasgupta, Director of Product Marketing for Fabric and Switching Technologies at Juniper Networks, discusses its QFabric approach and why TRILL’s hair pinning method to inter-VLAN routing is a poor approach. It’s a fascinating discussion that you have to listen to. You can also download a white paper on this topic here.
Eric Murray, Senior Network Engineer at Kindred Healthcare, and Ashish Shah, Senior Product Manager, Data Center Switching Technology Group at Cisco Systems, discuss the value gain of data center convergence or a single Ethernet fabric to support IP datagram and storage traffic. In this podcast, Eric Murray shares his experience of deploying a converged data center while Ashish explains Cisco’s end-to-end Data Center LAN/SAN consolidation strategy. This is a fascinating discussion of data center network design with cost and benefit trade-offs. In short, Kindred Healthcare has saved many millions of dollars in capital spend plus operational cost, thanks to a reduction in the number of management points.